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on the importance of data

by | Jun 28, 2013 | Uncategorized

My friends (my friends who live just one street over) left their house one morning this week to run some errands. After just two and a half hours, they (and their two sweet little ones) returned home to find that someone had (quite literally) broken and entered into their home, rifled through their stuff, and taken the tools they use to make a living.

They lost cameras, computers, hard drives and more.

Frankly, I can’t imagine what they’re going through. These were the tools they use not only to express themselves, but to provide shelter and food to their family. And in addition to the normal concerns over losing stuff, they lost some irreplaceable data as well.

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I’ve had a fairly casual relationship with data backups. I never backed up in college and a motherboard failure and an inept Best Buy employee kindly freed me of all my data. (Hey, at least I got a MiniDisc player out of it). Several years later, I lost the external hard drive on which I stored the 220+ gigs of music I had (ahem) acquired over the years. It stung, but then came Pandora, and now Spotify. Barely and harm, barely any foul.

Sure, I do use Time Machine (though a recent OS upgrade cause me some consternation there), but I’m not a serious data guy. I have friends who back up nightly and alternate hard drives, storing one at their job, one in their car, and one at home.

What weirdos, I thought.

Until now.

I have always been keenly aware of the concept of a hard drive going bad. I’ve been marginally prepared for that (Time Machine), but I’ve never really given much credence to the idea of losing my data by fire or theft.  And as long as my computer and my backup are in the same physical location, that’s a real possibility. As I know myself well enough to know that multiple hard drives in various locations, isn’t a viable option for me, that leaves me one option:

The Cloud

There’s so much data tied to weddings whether your’e a wedding creative or a bride and groom. You’ve got guestlists and budgets and design files and photos and videos and spreadsheets galore. There’s so much that’s really only stored as data. Data representing hours and hours of work.

My friends’ experience was certainly an eye opener, so here’s what I’m doing to protect my data:

  1. Have a local backup
    No, we’re not starting with the sexy. You should still have a local backup. Mine is a 1 TB hard drive on my desktop. If I’m on it, I’m plugging my laptop in and backing it up nightly.
  2. Native Cloud Storage
    Technically, this isn’t backup. It’s storage. Almost every document I create is a Google Apps doc – no Microsoft Office for me. I also use Adobe’s Creative Cloud for my Adobe files. I trust Google’s and Adobe’s redundancies more than I trust my own. That said, I don’t have infinite trust in them. Anyone have good options for backing up what I’ve got stored there?
  3. Cloud Backup
    I’ve recently started using a product called Backblaze on the recommendation of a friend. I am thoroughly and utterly amazed at how far cloud storage and, more importantly, back has come in the last couple years. For most of us, it wasn’t a viable alternative just a year or two ago. At $5/month for unlimited storage (I don’t have a ton of data and won’t be putting that to the test), this will be a very promising option if it’s reliable.

I’m not saying what I’m doing is right and I’d love to hear what solutions you have. Please: discuss below.

And keep your eyes peeled: it looks like there might be a snag with insurance and my friends may have trouble being indemnified for their loss. If that’s the case,I’ll post a link to how you might be able to help.



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